Using iPads for speech, language and communication: ideas for parents
It’s a positive feature of the iPad that children can entertain themselves but it’s important to remember that communication is a key skill to develop alongside play. The iPad can be used as a talking point and a trigger for discussion and interactive games. Below are some ideas to get you started at home:
App ideas for multiple ages:
Using sound effects to develop listening skills: Many apps provide animal, music, transport and other sound effects which you can use in listening games at home.
Using food and cooking apps. There are lots of meaningful ways you can develop language based on food apps to give instructions, practise social situations etc.
Using photos (mainly free apps). Ideas for apps which help you edit photos in a creative and conversation initiating way.
Story telling ideas (free apps). Ideas for different apps which support narrative and story telling skills for younger and older children at a range of language levels.
App ideas for younger children (2-5 years):
Photo Buttons (free) Turning family photos into buttons which pop when you tap on them.
My PlayHome (Lite version free, £2.49 to upgrade) Using interactive everyday scenes to develop talking and listening skills.
Sago Mini Music Box. (£1.99) Developing early language skills by talking about a musical scene together.
App ideas for older children (5 years +):
Using photos and videos. (no apps needed). Ideas for using language in lots of different situations using the camera as a prompt.
Autorap. (free) Developing vocabulary skills by generating automatic raps.
Using preposterous pictures and ridiculous words to encourage talking (free and £0.99) Create weird and wonderful animals and enjoy concocting ludicrous names for them.
Using photo jigsaws as a starter for conversation (Abricot Games- Puzzle – free). Creating a jigsaw out of any image and using it to stimulate vocabulary learning and conversation.
iPad timers e.g. ASD timer and Sand Timer. (free). Ideas for supporting a child with autism to understand when they can use the iPad and when to share.